– paves way for expansion of UG’s medical programme
DELIVERY of healthcare in Guyana has been limited over the past years mainly because of the absence of specialists in the field of medicine, but this is expected to change significantly with the commissioning of the $245 million Dr. Yesu Persaud Clinical Education Centre.
The centre was created through a private-public partnership that saw the contribution of $30 million from the government and $215M from the Dr Yesu Persaud Foundation.
The building, which is a three level 20,000 square feet structure with a usable roof terrace, will serve as a facility for medical education programmes offered by the University of Guyana (UG) and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
It has space for administrative and faculty offices, class rooms, conference rooms, dry labs and skills training labs.
Speaking on Saturday at the ceremonial opening ceremony for the facility at GPHC, President Irfaan Ali said the centre is a step in the right direction and is in line with government’s intention to improve the delivery primary healthcare across the country.
“We have to invest in community healthcare and you will see the improvements…in the next budget we are going to create a new programme for research and development at the primary healthcare level,” said President Ali.
Countries have advanced tremendously through research and development, but in Guyana’s case this category of expenditure carries the lowest ‘weight’ both in the private and public sectors, something which the President said has to be fixed, in order for there to be innovation and advancement of local talent.
“When you receive a CV of the human potential we have in this country, it is mind-blowing if you look at the utilisation…75 per cent of the highly skilled people are under utilised, but we have to put that skill to work, but we have a primary healthcare problem and we have to fix it together ,” said President Ali.
While he acknowledged the hard-working medical professionals, who continue to toil through this novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he also pointed to inefficiencies in the healthcare system, which he said that the Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, is currently reviewing.
Physical advancements in the system must be complemented by a shift in the mindset of professionals.
To this end, President Ali reminded doctors that they are not advancing their careers to be doctors in Georgetown alone, but to be doctors for humanity wherever it exists.
“We must gear our minds for that because we want to take the load off of GPHC…many times GPHC comes in for criticism, but we must recognise the hard-working medical professionals, including nurses, cleaners, attendants and everyone at GPHC, and the healthcare service across the country,” said the President.
An effort to take the load off of GPHC also includes a partnership between the Governments of India and Guyana, which will see US$17 million being spent on the modernisation and expansion of the Suddie, West Demerara and Bartica hospitals.
Meanwhile, Dr. Persaud was hailed by both President Ali and Dr. Anthony for his sterling contributions to Guyana.
Dr. Anthony hailed Persaud and his efforts in having the new building constructed. He said he was pleased and happy to know that the Institute of Health Science of the University of Guyana will have a new home.
The university’s Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme established in 1985 and the postgraduate clinical education programmes in 2006 have been growing substantially but never had purpose built facilities and as such, they were delivered in already limited facilities at the university and at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
The Health Minister noted that since post graduate training started at UG and the GPHC, 144 doctors in various specialties have been trained and another 138 is currently in training.
According to Dr. Anthony, the new facility will allow for the expansion of current postgraduate training and provide the institution with better accommodation for simulation labs and other modern teaching aids.
The building will also be used as a teaching hub to provide online training to doctors and medical personnel in all regions. The Health Ministry will also consider building an e-library and repository to save research.
Dr. Anthony said the ultimate purpose of these advancements is to ensure that Guyana is able to provide high quality medical health services.
Dr. Persaud, in giving his remarks said: “there is nothing like doing things and helping those who can’t.” He stressed that his motto has always been “helping those who can’t help themselves.”
“Our biggest problem in Guyana is that we can’t keep our people in…We have to do things to keep them in. If we can get our people together and to work together this could be a nation of great prosperity and togetherness.”